Archbishop-Elect Apologizes For DUI Arrest In San Diego

Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, 56, Was Recently Appointed As Leader Of San Francisco Archdiocese

A San Diego native recently appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of San Francisco was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in his hometown over the weekend, authorities confirmed Monday.

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Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, 56, of Oakland was arrested on suspicion of DUI about 12:30 a.m. Saturday at a checkpoint in the 5100 block of College Avenue near the San Diego State University campus, according to San Diego police Officer Mark McCullough.

Cordileone -- one of 11 arrested at the checkpoint -- failed a field sobriety test, then consented to an optional preliminary alcohol screening device which measured a blood-alcohol level higher than the legal limit of .08 percent, McCullough said.

Cordileone was then placed under arrest and given the option of an official blood or breath test at the checkpoint. He chose a breath test that confirmed a blood-alcohol level higher than the legal limit, McCullough said.

Cordileone's mother, who was a passenger, was allowed to drive the mid-size black car home following her son's arrest after officers made sure she had not been drinking and had a valid license, McCullough said.

10News learned the black Ford Taurus Cordileone was driving belongs to the church.

The car has a Walnut Creek license plate frame and is registered to Roman Catholic Bishops. It is not immediately known if the church allows its vehicles to be used for personal business.

On Monday afternoon, Cordileone issued the following statement regarding his arrest:

"While visiting in San Diego this past weekend, I had dinner at the home of some friends along with a priest friend visiting from outside the country and my mother, who lives near San Diego State University. While driving my mother home, I passed through a DUI checkpoint the police had set up near the SDSU campus before I reached her home, and was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level.

"I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself. I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this."

Cordileone attended SDSU for a year before transferring to the University of San Diego, where he obtained a philosophy degree in 1978.

Cordileone, who was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego in 2002, chaired the Corporate Board of Catholic Charities and was a member of the University of San Diego Board of Trustees.

He became the Fourth Bishop of Oakland in 2009 and last month was appointed the Metropolitan Archbishop of San Francisco. He is scheduled to be installed in October.

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